Prevent potentially deadly wheel separations when driving
Kim Phillips with files from Krista Sharpe, CTV Barrie
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019 5:35PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 12, 2019 6:45PM EDT
Imagine you're driving down the highway, listening to the radio, travelling the same commute you take most mornings.
Suddenly, a wheel comes barrelling toward your vehicle. You're driving at highway speed.
There is no warning. There is no time to react.
It can be a dangerous and potentially deadly situation.
It's also hard to imagine a wheel coming loose from your car, putting your own life, and those around you, at risk.
"You've got a lot of weight, a lot of speed, and a lot of force involved, and unfortunately, it just seems they seem to head for the windshield," said OPP Const. Sherri Wilson with the Highway Safety Division. "Windshields are not made to protect against that type of force."
According to the Canadian Automobile Association, wheel separations happen most commonly between spring and summer, after most motorists switch to seasonal tires.
Erik Waugh is the manager at Beverly Tire & Auto in Barrie's north end and said improper maintenance could cause a wheel to come off a moving vehicle. "One of the things that cause a wheel to come loose or come off is a build-up of rust," Waugh said mechanics should clean off the rust, ensuring a proper and tight mount of the tire.
CAA also recommends getting tires re-torqued after the first 100 kilometres when they've been changed.
The Ministry of Transportation reports 75 percent of wheel separation incidents involving commercial vehicles are caused by fastener failure. Statistics for passenger vehicles were unavailable.
OPP Const. Wilson said prevention is vital. "It just takes a couple of seconds to do a little circle check."
Most tire or mechanic shops will re-torque tires free of charge without an appointment because it only takes a few minutes to ensure your tires stay on your vehicle.